My Thoughts: This is the first time I have ever heard of author Rainbow Rowell and I’m kind of disappointed that It took so long. This book has seen a spike in popularity and I have to say, the hype it’s getting is well deserved.
The book is set in 1986- We are introduced to Eleanor or “Big Red” and she is the new girl. The author never sugar coats reality (one of the things I love so much about this book) and almost immediately Eleanor is bullied by everyone on the bus as she desperately searches for a seat. Then out of the blue, Park tells her to sit down next to him. This simple gesture fuels the story and a relationship starts to form. In most YA books these days girls are portrayed as skinny, perfect figures and that isn’t the case. So when Rowell described Eleanor as a more round figure with red curly hair, I knew this book would be a good kind of different.
Being that this book is set in the 1980’s I loved that instead of ipods and iphones it became comic books and walkmen. Park, the half Korean boy that Eleanor sits next to on the first day has a passion for both. Over time, Eleanor starts to read Parks comic books over his solder. He notices and lends them to her. They bond over music too.
This story dealt with abuse in its very true form. Its the comic books and music that help distract Eleanor from her stepfather Richie as she tries not to get kicked out again. Both main characters deal with the pressure of societies standards and it was shocking how spot on this book was. Obstacles are a constant thing in Park’s and Eleanor’s relationship. In a way, both of their families portray when love works- and when it doesn’t.
My emotions were all over the place while reading this book and I have never read anything like it. I cannot give anything away so instead, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes.- “Eleanor was right: She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” This story is terrifyingly beautiful and I really recommend you read it.
If you have read this book, leave a comment and let me know what you thought.
Next Book Review: The Name Of The Star by Maureen Johnson